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Track(s) taken from CDA30030

Versa est in luctum

1598; 6vv; for the memorial of Philip II of Spain in Toledo Cathedral; 'Ad exequias Philip. II Cathol. Regis Hisp.'; published Liber primus Missarum, Madrid, 1602
author of text
Job; Office of the Dead

Ex Cathedra, Jeffrey Skidmore (conductor)
Recording details: October 2002
All Saints, Tooting, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: April 2003
Total duration: 5 minutes 26 seconds

Cover artwork: Aztec shield (detail) (c1500).
Museum für Völkerkunde, Vienna

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'This wonderfully colourful collection puts the vivid vocal qualities of Jeffrey Skidmore's virtuoso choir Ex Cathedra into the foreground … sumptuously realised with a varied—but historically appropriate—panoply of voices and instruments … a richly rewarding CD … I have been driving around with it in my car and my 11-year old son now prefers it to David Bowie … thoroughly recommended' (Gramophone)

'Fascinatingly varied in idiom and influence, and Skidmore has unearthed some real gems' (Choir & Organ)

'The expressive range is astonishing … a delight to commend' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Ex Cathedra has unearthed some magnificent music here; there are plenty of fascinating discoveries, performed with great feeling and panache, and with potent seasoning from the period instruments. The disc has the markings of a bestseller, and certainly deserves to be' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Jeffrey Skidmore unearths some scintillating examples of the Old World meeting the New, with Renaissance polyphony underpinned by African-Latin drums. The result is only a few beats removed from modern examples of Catholic worship. A fascinating disc' (The Independent)

'Immaculately performed … fascinating' (The Guardian)

'This is one of the most exciting releases I've seen in a while … the performance is flawless, with a wide range of emotional expression; the sound is excellent' (American Record Guide)

'This really is an irresistible recording, offering a wealth of styles and colours and plenty of South American sunshine. Buy it and discover the New World for yourself' (International Record Review)

'Hypnotically good' (Classic FM)

'This is one of the most eye-opening CDs—or should I say ear-opening—that I have heard this year. What a magical concoction of sounds—and what brilliant playing!' (Classic FM)

'Terrific music, terrific singing' (The Times)

'This is arguably the most original CD of the year, and it's generated a huge number of enquiries from Classic FM listeners. Jeffrey Skidmore and Ex Cathedra have tapped a rich seam of baroque choral music … do not be put off by the unfamiliarity of the composers; this is wonderful music' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Extremely rewarding, bringing yet further evidence of the richness of Latin American Baroque music … the performances are very accomplished indeed … splendid disc' (Fanfare, USA)

'This recording is highly recommended … these are polished, emotionally engaged performances, brightly recorded, of fascinating, exciting repertoire' (Early Music Today)

'Stunning … choral music of the most vibrant quality imaginable, performed by Ex Cathedra with equally vigorous zeal … the whole background is fascinatingly documented in Skidmore's own invaluable insert-note … all vocalists display the group's customary virtuosity in a range of languages … unmissable' (Birmingham Post)

'Ex Cathedra and Jeffrey Skidmore are first-rate ambassadors for this music … the overall sound is beautiful and the performance, from instrumentalists and singers, has great conviction and energy … an album of unexpectedly wicked delight' (bbc.co.uk)
Alonso Lobo’s elegiac masterpiece Versa est in luctum was written for Philip’s memorial at Toledo Cathedral. It was published in the composer’s Liber primus missarum (Madrid, 1602) and is headed ‘Ad exequias Philip. II Cathol. Regis Hisp.’. It is one of a group of seven motets which follow six of Lobo’s Masses and they are described as ‘for devout singing at solemn Mass’. It is possible that Versa est in luctum was sung at the Missa pro defunctis which concluded the agenda mortuorum held at San Jerónimo el Real, the church, monastery and palace favoured by Philip in Madrid. There, on 19 October, the Archbishop of Toledo was the presiding celebrant of the final Requiem Mass. The proposed order of service (which survives) allowed for a motet to be sung at the Elevation of the Host, between the Sanctus and Benedictus. If Lobo was there with his singers, part of the Archbishop’s customary entourage, his motet may well have been sung. That is to speculate: what is certain is that this beautiful work has now become a much performed and frequently recorded favourite of choirs, professional and amateur.

from notes by Bruno Turner © 1998

Alonso Lobo composa ce chef-d’œuvre élégiaque pour la commémoration de Philippe célébrée en la cathédrale de Tolède. Publié dans le Liber primus missarum (Madrid, 1602) du compositeur sous le titre «Ad exequias Philip. II Cathol. Regis Hisp.», il fait partie d’un groupe de sept motets qui suivent six des messes de Lobo et sont dits «pour le chant dévôt à la messe solennelle». Versa est in luctum a peut-être été chanté à la Missa pro defunctis conclusive de l’agenda mortuorum qui se tint à San Jerónimo el Real, l’église/ monastère/palais madrilène préférée de Philippe. Là, le 19 octobre, l’archevêque de Tolède présida à la messe de requiem finale. L’ordre d’office proposé (qui nous est parvenu) autorisait qu’un motet fût chanté à l’élévation de l’hostie, entre le Sanctus et le Benedictus. Si Lobo était présent avec ses chanteurs, dans l’entourage coutumier de l’archevêque, son motet a fort bien pu être chanté. Ce sont là des spéculations mais il est certain que cette œuvre superbe est devenue l’une des préférées, souvent interprétée et enregistrée, des chœurs professionnels et amateurs.

extrait des notes rédigées par Bruno Turner © 1998
Français: Hypérion

Alonso Lobo elegisches Meisterwerk Versa est in luctum wurde anläßlich des Gedenkens an Philipp in der Kathedrale von Toledo geschrieben. Veröffentlicht wurde es in der Liber primus missarum (Madrid, 1602) des Komponisten und trägt den Titel ‘Ad exequias Philip. II Cathol. Regis Hisp.’. Es handelt sich dabei um eine von sieben Motetten, die sechs der Messen Lobos folgen und die Bezeichnung ‘zum frommen Gesang bei feierlichen Messen’ tragen. Es besteht die Möglichkeit, daß Versa est in luctum während der Missa pro defunctis gesungen wurde, die am Schluß der agenda mortuorum steht, welche in der San Jerónimo el Real – der von Philipp bevorzugten Kirchen-, Kloster- und Palastanlage – gefeiert wurde. Am 19. Oktober leitete dort der Erzbischof von Toledo die Feierlichkeiten des letzten Requiems. Der Gottesdienstordnung zufolge (welche erhalten geblieben ist) konnte zur Wandlung der Hostie, zwischen Sanctus und Benedictus, eine Motette gesungen werden. Wenn Lobo mit seinen Sängern, Teil der üblichen Entourage des Erzbischofs, zugegen war, könnte diese Motette wohl auch tatsächlich gesungen worden sein. Das bleibt reine Spekulation, doch eines ist gewiß: dieses wunderbare Werk ist heute zu einem viel aufgeführten und häufig aufgenommenen Lieblingsstück von Chören, Berufs- und Amateurmusikern geworden.

aus dem Begleittext von Bruno Turner © 1998
Deutsch: Michael Stoffl

La elegíaca obra maestra de Lobo fue escrita para el servicio fúnebre por Felipe celebrado en la Catedral de Toledo. Se publicó en el Liber primus missarum (Madrid, 1602) del compositor y aparece con el encabezamiento «Ad exequias Philip. II Cathol. Regis Hisp.». Se trata de un motete de un grupo de siete situados a continuación de seis de las Misas de Lobo y descritos como «para el canto devoto en la Misa solemne». Es posible que Versa est in luctum se cantara en la Missa pro defunctis con que concluyó la agenda mortuorum celebrada en San Jerónimo el Real, la iglesia, el monasterio y el palacio favorecidos por Felipe en Madrid. Allí, el 19 de octubre, el Arzobispo de Toledo se encargó de presidir la Misa de Requiem conclusiva. El orden propuesto del servicio (que se conserva) permitía que se cantara un motete en la Elevación de la Hostia, entre el Sanctus y el Benedictus. Si Lobo se encontraba allí con sus cantantes, parte del séquito habitual del Arzobispo, es más que probable que se cantara su motete. Pero esto no pasa de ser una especulación: lo que es cierto es que esta hermosa obra se ha convertido en una pieza predilecta, muy interpretada y frecuentemente grabada, de coros tanto profesionales como aficionados.

Bruno Turner © 1998
Español: Luis Gago

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